By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News.
Following the incessant crime and insecurity in most part of Nigeria— insurgency, kidnapping, violent crime and others, the need to recruit more police officers to handle the increasing crime rate has become imperative.
This was the position of a former FCT Commissioner of Police and Chief Executive, Foundation for Peace and Security Education, COMPOL (Barr) Lawrence Eko Alobi, in an exclusive interview with The Sight News recently in Abuja.
Barr. Alobi, who retired from active Police service in June 2017, stated that the shortage of manpower in the Nigerian police force, poor funding, lack of motivation and lack of good training and capacity building are some of the factors that contribute to the high rate of insecurity in the country.
In line with this, he advised President Muhammadu Buhari to use the next four years, to at least recruit 50, 000 police officers to cover the deficit in security.
According to him, “The police men are even over stretched, they work for 24 hours but if they have enough manpower, patrol Vehicles with good weapons and given their allowances, they can patrol the streets to ensure that such crimes do not occur”, he said. “The manpower of the police is grossly inadequate, they are not well equipped”.
He further noted that poor funding has hindered the police from carrying out the required training and retraining of officers which has impacted negatively in their performance and relationship with the members of the public, adding however that when the police is well-funded, well equipped, well motivated and appreciated, they will perform better.
Speaking on the high rate of kidnapping on major roads in the country, he noted that structural factor, poverty,value system, unemployment, and crave for quick money are some of the factors that contribute to this incessant crime.
“A lot of factors surrounds crime in general, be it insurgency, kidnapping, violent crime. Structurally, the kind of values we have in the society is only concerned about how to grab, material acquisition. People don’t want to work and again, the agencies that are supposed to checkmate and control crime are a bit handicapped.
“Our leaders too, they don’t think about service but only how to grab power and loot money in a very beastly manner. Our moral values have been bastardised, parenting is no longer there, the children are just left on their own.
“Now armed robbery is on the decline because some people go to rob but don’t get enough but when they kidnap, they get more through ransom, and kidnapping has become more lucrative.
“There is also the issue of proliferation of illegal arms in the hands of the people who should not have it and they use these arms to commit crime”, he remarked.
On how Nigerians treat policemen, he expressed dismay that police and other security agencies are working round the clock to protect lives and property, maintaining law and order to ensure that citizens enjoy a safe and secure environment, noting however that the citizens don’t seem to appreciate but only condemn and criticize them.
In his word, “Policing is all about service, police are peace makers and they should be appreciated. No society is perfect. The society itself produces the kind of Police officers we have because, when you don’t appreciate someone, he or she becomes antagonistic and the bad eggs we have in the police all came from the society.
“We need to build institutions to train, educate and give the police capacity that has professional standard and ethics and that’s what the present IG is doing to ensure that officers are trained and developed to be able to serve the people, and become service-oriented, people-oriented and public friendly police force”.
He appealed to the 9th National Assembly to ensure that the Police Trust Fund bill which is already in the making, is passed, noting that it will be an effective and alternative way of funding the police force.
Speaking on the issue of unnecessary rivalry among the security agencies which he said, has become a threat to national security, he urged them all to synergize, subordinate their ego and work together in collaborative spirit.